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INTERVIEW: We think it's a good mix

24 May 2016

Lee Dykes on the signing of Joe McKee

Head of recruitment Lee Dykes spoke to us about midfielder Joe McKee following the signing of his one-year deal with the club this week.

“He’s a player we’ve know about for a while and we’re more than happy to have got him over the line,” he said. “He’s massively determined to be a success in England. You can see it in his eyes because he thinks he’s been robbed of a couple of years down here, for a number of different reasons. He feels he should have been doing this a lot sooner than now.

“He’s the type of character we need in the building. We have good people here anyway but we do want to bring a bit more flair into the squad this year to give us that extra impetus in difficult situations.

“We’ve seen that teams are coming to Brunton Park and sitting off us and Joe has the ability to pass from deep, and within lines, and I’m sure he’ll help to create chances for the team.”

McKee becomes the first player to have signed for the club from north of the border under the current regime as the management seek to extend their network to cover as much ground as possible.

“With the Scottish Championship you do have it in your mind to ask whether or not the player can come down here and do it in English league football because it is completely different,” Dykes said. 

“The game is played at different speeds and that means there are different decision making requirements. The manager and I have looked closely at him and we are of the opinion he has all of the qualities we need. The manager’s philosophy is similar to what Joe’s playing ability represents so we think it’s a good mix.

“I have to say that his agent [Scott McLaughlin] has been first class from day one. He’s helped us to get it all done because I think Scott realised that this was the right place for his player to be.”

“We do get asked a lot about tapping into the Scottish market and it has been more difficult for us to achieve this season, with me being on the bench for first team matches,” he explained. “That’s where my contacts and networking activities have to come to fruition. 

“There are people I trust completely in Scotland and I’ve also been able to get up there to see the lad myself, so I know we’ve made a good signing. It’s important to have that kind of network in place because we often bang on about where we are geographically. 

“Carlisle often isn’t the favoured option for players based in England so it then comes down to selling the club philosophy to them in the right way, to make them want to come here. Good players are prepared to buy into that and alter their lifestyle to come here and be successful with us.”

Speaking more about his network of contacts, he said: “When I came into this club there wasn’t much here in terms of scouting resources. It was my remit to build that platform and to put something in place which the club could take forward, if I was ever to move on. 

“I think we’ve done that and we now have a database with over 50,000 names on it where we know as much as we can about each of those players. I think it’s an excellent scouting resource which anyone connected to the club can utilise.”

As for his hopes for McKee, he commented: “He doesn’t want to come here just to be a squad player. What we want this season, and it’s what we had last season, is real competition for places. 

“If the manager sees a player performing in training, or in pre-season, he won’t think twice about putting him in. Pre-season is going to be huge for all of our players and, from speaking to Joe, I know he’s here to be in the eleven. I hope he has the impact he is desperate to make because, as I say, he really wants this move to work out positively for him.”

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